Hickory Farms

July 2021 Hickory Farms Newsletter

- Editor, Bill Berg (Farm House Ln)

President's Column

By Sean Coleman

Seventeen years ago, the cicadas swarmed the neighborhood, just like they have this year. Brood X certainly appears to have created the next generation based on the large number of brown leaves at the end of branches I see around the neighborhood. It was this way in 2004, and it will be that way in 2038 when they return. Other things seem to run in 17 cycles. My wife, Claire, recently recovered a Washington Post article written about the neighborhood in 2004. Multiple neighbors who still live here are mentioned. Here is the link: https://www.washingtonpost.com/archive/realestate/2004/06/12/fairfax-subdivision-redefines-affordability/9ce5beb1-7dfc-4466-97f1-22a4557a3b27/ The article is a tiny time capsule of what Hickory Farms was then.

What do you want Hickory Farms to be? The Board is putting out a survey that is asking that question; What do you want Hickory Farms to be in five years or possibly ten? Your viewpoint is just as valid as everyone else. If you want your voice heard, you have to respond to the survey.

As my wife and I walk around the neighborhood, it is wonderful to see people improving their property with new landscaping, new roofs, and even new sidewalks. There is a planning effort going on now about a neighborhood garden tour that Bob and Judy Cosgriff will lead. I believe there is a signup sheet that has circulated via the neighborhood listserve. You can sign up to show your garden or to join in the tour, or both. The tour is an easy way to get ideas for your garden, meet new neighbors, and to enjoy the neighborhood with others.

I would ask again that people return to me their preference for newsletter delivery as soon as possible. Truthfully, the response to the request last month has been negligible. While an answer from everyone helps guide the Board's decision on moving primarily to an electronic distribution of the newsletter, it is especially important to hear from those in the community who wish to receive a printed newsletter. We do not want to exclude anyone from getting our community updates.

If you've seen a neighbor with a clipboard walking along the sidewalk or driving slowly up your street in the past couple of weeks, they are homeowner volunteers supporting the Architectural Control Committee (ACC) house-to-house annual inspection of homes' exteriors for compliance with Hickory Farms covenants and regulations. The purpose is to help keep up the appearance and attractiveness of our community. Some of us will receive a written notice from the ACC Chair regarding the need to conform to those rules, with possibly helpful pointers of how to rectify any violations. There is a 60-day period in which to take the needed steps. Questions? Email acc@hickoryfarms.org

In the evenings just as it gets dark, the lower commons area is filled with lightning bugs. If you walk the path and look at the trees on either side, it will remind you of a Christmas tree there are so many of them.

And please remember to mark your calendars for October 13th from 7pm-9:15pm for our Hickory Farms Annual Meeting at the cafeteria of the nearby Green Acres Community Center, 4401 Sideburn Rd in Fairfax, just one mile to the west of us.

Finally, if you as a homeowner would like to serve (or nominate a homeowner with her/his prior approval to serve) on the Board of the Hickory Farms Community Association for 2022, please email our Nominating Committee at nc@hickoryfarms.org. You may also phone HFCA Vice President Jim Bever at 571 405-0708 mobile. Email or phone by NLT September 7th. Candidates and proxy ballots will be announced by o/a September 13, a month ahead of the Annual Meeting.

July 4th celebrations are abundant in the area. The annual City of Fairfax parade will be on July 3rd at 10 am on Route 123 in the City. https://www.fairfaxva.gov/government/parks-recreation/special-events/independence-day-celebration There are a lot of other places to enjoy July 4th fireworks and picnics. Fun In Fairfax has a good listing https://www.funinfairfaxva.com/july-4th-fireworks-northern-virginia/.

If you have not yet had a chance to check out the pool, five different swim and dive competitions are left for the Fairfax Frogs. The pool calendar has a complete listing https://fairfaxpool.com/.

Meet your block reps!

Student Yellow Pages

If you offer services such as raking leaves, lawn mowing, babysitting, general home maintenance, dog walking, tutoring, etc., please email Bill at berg_bill@yahoo.com to be included.

Britney Mulliner (17) 571-474-7277 Babysitting and dog sitting
Cody Dempster (17) 703-776-0101 Yard work, snow shoveling, housework
Lauren Turner (17) angmturn@hotmail.com Pet Sitting
Shannon Turner (16) angmturn@hotmail.com Pet Sitting
Nathan Turner (11) angmturn@hotmail.com Pet Sitting, plant/tree watering, weed picking and leaf raking
Kiera Stark (11) commonareas@hickoryfarms.org Pet sitting, plant/tree watering, weed picking and leaf raking
Kent Codding (18) 703-317-7319 Shovel snow, yard work, leaf raking
Xavier Gilmer (15) 703-862-2192 Shovel snow; lawn mowing
Jaden Singh (17) 703-278-8800 Math tutoring, snow shoveling
George Codding (14) 703-223-4101 Snow shovel, yard work, leaf raking

July HFCA Board Meeting

As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, Hickory Farms Board Meetings are now conducted using the Zoom audio/video conference application. That means that every Hickory Farms Community Association member can observe their Board in action without leaving home! The next HFCA Board meeting will be held Tuesday, 13 July at 7pm. To join the meeting, contact any HFCA Board Member or send a request to join to hfca@hickoryfarms.org. You will also be provided with the Zoom meeting URL, meeting number and passcode.

Hickory Farms has a strong and consistent history of transparency regarding access by members to Board Meetings and the challenges facing our community. Please consider attending the Board Meeting so that you are fully informed with the issues facing our neighborhood!

Join Our Listserv

There’s no better way to stay in touch than through our Hickory Farms email listserv. Visit hickoryfarms.org, click "Email Listserv” in the "For Residents" menu and follow the instructions.

Volunteer Needed for Newsletter Delivery

We are seeking a volunteer to deliver the newsletter on a monthy basis. If interested please email the newsletter editor at berg_bill@yahoo.com.

2021 Becoming a Record Year for Architectural Control Committee!

  • 34 ACC Actions Taken through 06/25/21
  • 225 Sent Emails Generated
  • 28 Property Improvement applications submitted & reviewed
  • Generally, seven to eight days turnaround time with the longest taking 24 days from time completed application was submitted

Applications for June 2021

  1. New flagstone walkways, sitting area, stoop - 4319 Farm House Lane
  2. New roof - 4324 Still Meadow Road
  3. Replacement walkways, driveway, and patio - 4306 Still Meadow Road
  4. Patio, fireplace, and water feature - 10005 Tumbleweed Court
  5. New garage door - 4337 Still Meadow Road
  6. New roof - 4370 Harvester Farm Lane
  7. New fence - 4347 Farm House Lane
  8. Pending - Detached screened room/gazebo - 4324 Still Meadow Road
  9. New fence - 4327 Still Meadow Road
  10. Driveway extension - 10021 Cotton Farm Road

Virginia Property Owner Association Act (VPOAA)

Five inspections for property sale settlements completed in 2021

  • Shortest time on market - 8 hours
  • Longest time on market - 20 days
  • Pending - 10110 Round Top Court
  • Two violations identified and corrected prior to closing

Neighborhood-wide property inspections

171 of 198 homes inspected to date

  • Three members from ACC participated in the inspections
  • Three homeowner volunteers also participated
  • Violation notice letters and email notes are currently being prepared by the ACC Chair

If you want to be a part of the process that protects property values in your Hickory Farms Community email Pam Barrett at acc@hickoryfarms.org

Birds of Hickory Farms

By Bob Cosgriff

The first breeding cycle of 2021 was a success, with three bluebird boxes producing 15 fledglings and one box adding five House Wrens. The only disappointment was the predation of a Tree Swallow nest with five eggs in the upper commons. The swallows did not return to that box or take any other available box.

The second cycle has begun auspiciously, with four boxes holding 18 a total of eggs or hatchlings as of 26 June. Two of these boxes produced chicks in the first round, and two are different boxes. In terms of location, two are in the lower and two in the upper commons. We also have two boxes with a total of 11 House Wren eggs. One of these boxes produced five chicks the first time around. Hatch dates will be staggered in the first two weeks of July and fledging will occur toward the end of July. There may even be time for one or two third broods by particularly fit mated pairs.

We have not seen any new birds in the neighborhood since the spring migration and in general the number of birds we’ve seen has dropped off sharply, although we are beginning to notice juvenile birds of different species. However, I did see two male Baltimore Orioles in the cemetery across Burke Station Road on May 14. This was surprising since most orioles went through here in May. However, orioles do breed in this area, so it may still be possible to see them even now.

You might have read reports in the newspaper about bird mortality possibly linked to diseases picked up at feeders. The species most affected are Common Grackles and Blue Jays. I have been asked if this means you should take down your feeders. My answer is ‘no.’ Grackles and other black birds periodically fall prey to disease because they tend to flock together to roost, thus facilitating the spread of avian diseases. Jays, too, tend to group together. But I would recommend that you clean your feeders regularly, especially platform feeders, with either vinegar or a diluted solution of Clorox. Scrub out any seed remnants and dry thoroughly in the sun before refilling. If you do find a dead bird in your yard, handle the carcass with gloves and either bury it or put it into a sealable plastic bag and discard it in the garbage. Also let me know so I can take a look. Neighbors have reported three dead birds to me: two were House Sparrows and one was a juvenile American Robin. None of the birds showed the external indications of the disease. Two showed clear marks of having been attacked and pecked. Such injuries can lead to infection and death. The third bird might have been a window strike. There are many reasons birds die: predation (outdoor house cats being the #1 culprit), starvation, dehydration/heat stress, window strikes, and poisoning by insecticides/herbicides. Mortality in hatch-year birds can run 70% or higher.

In the category of other living things seen, we can add Ebony Jewelwing (Calopteryx maculata), a type of dragonfly known as a damselfly. While most dragonflies have transparent wings with or without dark spots, the Ebony Jewelwing sports entirely black wings to set off its slender, vivid metallic blue-green body. While it breeds in water and prefers habitats along creeks and lakes, it can be found away from those places. We saw ours in our yard uphill from Rabbit Run.

The Brood X periodical cicadas have come and gone (except for their carcasses). I did a little more research on the question I had been asked by some neighbors whether songbirds eat cicadas. My initial answer was ‘yes and no.’ While some birds like the American Kestrel and Mississippi Kite catch large flying insects as a matter of course, and larger species such as crows, jays, grackles and some others could easily handle a cicada, it seems logical to think that smaller birds would go after easier targets like small flying insects and caterpillars for their food.

To a chickadee or titmouse, the large, red-eyed cicada would appear to be quite formidable. That said, we did see a Carolina Wren pecking at a dead cicada while visiting some friends in Maryland. It took some time but it did extract some flesh and flew off, possibly to feed to a hungry chick. It was a target of opportunity and certainly a very good source of protein. I also had an anecdotal report from a neighbor of seeing bluebirds pecking at cicadas So the answer to the question “do birds eat cicadas’ remains ‘yes and no.’ We will get another chance to gather more data in 17 years!

We are tentatively planning on holding a fall migration bird walk on 18 September. We will review bird identification techniques and see what is moving through our neighborhood. That weekend is the peak of the Broad-winged Hawk migration. While the majority of these birds fly down the mountain ranges to our west, we have seen “kettles” of numerous Broad-winged Hawks circling on thermals over Hickory Farms in the past. Stay tuned to future newsletters and the Listserve in August and September for more details about this event.

Until next time, enjoy the summer. The resident birds will be here during the hot, humid days of July and August, and then we will start seeing the movement of migratory species. So take the opportunity to get out into the beautiful common areas which are in full bloom, or to visit any of the many nearby parks to enjoy nature.

First Annual HFCA Garden Tour

By Bob Cosgriff

The HFCA Social Committee is pleased to announce plans for the 1st Annual HFCA Garden Tour as a way to foster a stronger sense of community. The idea is for residents to walk around the neighborhood to look at what some of their neighbors have done in terms of planting gardens and doing other landscaping, thus getting ideas for ways to further beautify their own properties. The hosts will be glad to discuss how they went about planning their gardens, to include what flowers and shrubs they selected and why, and also to share their gardening techniques. Best of all, it’s absolutely free. How can you beat that?

As this July edition of the newsletter goes to press, hosts are being solicited. Three neighbors have already signed up to show their gardens. We are hoping for ten host properties, but will hold the event with a smaller number.

The target date is Saturday, 17 July, from 8 a.m. to noon (the coolest part of the day). However, the target date may slip to Sunday, 18 July depending on how many hosts are available on each day that weekend. So check the Listserve to find out the status, to include confirmation of the actual date and rain date, as well as the names and addresses of the hosts.

We encourage you to take part in this event. You might get to meet neighbors you never knew before and you might just get bitten by the gardening bug!